Fifty Nifty United States

We sit, legs crossed, in the space created by the opening of faux accordion-like walls made to separate classrooms.

Today, we will learn our 50 states.

Alphabetically and in a way that I won’t ever forget: Through Music.

The notes from the piano burst forth with excitement, begging any passer to dare walk by without stopping to listen.



A pile of third graders are heaped in front of the most amazing teacher I’ve ever known in my entire four years of real school, not the baby kind of school where you have to take naps still. Nearly a hundred pairs of eyes are turned toward her, eagerly chorusing our newly learned song.


Debbie Hanna. Her fingers dance on the piano in a way that jumps into my soul and makes me want to play right alongside her and sing forever.


I’m enraptured with the melodies of the keys; how each chord seems to echo through the space we occupy. I wonder why they can’t put all knowledge into a song that’s this much fun to learn.


My head bobs from side to side as I sing off each state’s name, loving the way they sound when accompanied by notes.

New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota

This is always my favorite part of school: when all of the third grade classes come together in the middle to sing the songs we’ve learned throughout the year. Even the kids that I don’t know and the ones I don’t really think I like too much have this one part of the week in common.

Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota

Here, we are one. United. Just like the states we’re learning today.

West Virginia

As the final notes from the piano fade from my ears, our teachers gather us up and take us back to our respective classrooms. I watch as the walls are slid back into place, dividing us once more, and I can’t help wishing that we could leave them open.

Even if just for a little while.

This post was written in response to a prompt by The Red Dress Club.

rememberedbuttonWe want to know what, from your childhood, do you still know by heart?

To force you to keep it simple and easy, let’s have a 500 word limit this week.


Disclaimer: I actually did not learn the entire ‘Schoolhouse Rock’ version of the song (and didn’t even know it was ‘Schoolhouse Rock’ that did it originally until I tried finding the song on YouTube!); we simply learned the part with the states that you see in the above video and nothing more.. well, from what I remember, of course. That was a long time ago.. ๐Ÿ˜‰

The important thing is that I still remember ALL the states in alphabetical order, and now I’m going to work on teaching them to my kids as well.


About Caitlin's Concepts

Mom to 4 boys and drowning in a sea of testosterone!
This entry was posted in Life, RemembeRED, The Red Dress Club and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Fifty Nifty United States

  1. Frelle says:

    that was perfect. LOVE. I am there with you in the classroom!

  2. Shell says:

    Love it! We did this in fourth grade, though it was a different song, though still the 50 states and I can still sing it. I taught it to my 5th graders when I taught. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Kir says:

    that’s fantastic, this was written so beautifully!!!! I loved each word. I was sitting there and swaying with you. WOW!!!!!!

    Great job Caitlin ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thank you so much! I loved those times. My first grade teacher played guitar, which was also just an amazing addition to the day.. something that will definitely stay with me always. =)

  4. Jackie says:

    I love School House Rock! And that is an awesome way to learn and remember the states! Now… I’m old and don’t remember that far back but it’s entirely possible that we learned a song similar to that.
    My guess is that your kids will love learning the song the same way you did.

  5. Lori says:

    Schoolhouse Rock has been coming up a lot for me lately. My exposure to it (and a single semester of US History in high school) is the only reason why I knew Sarah Palin didn’t know a THING about Paul Revere.

    Your post is amazing. I am envious of your ability to recall a moment in your childhood with such clarity.

    • Aw! Thank you!! I’ve always had a very strong ability to recollect things/places in detail, especially when I need to use words to share it with someone else. =)

      If it makes you feel better? Lately, with small children and little sleep, I’m actually quite lucky to remember my own name on a daily basis. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. Jessica says:

    Great that all the kids can come together, even if it is only for song time.

  7. WOW that would have been tough to learn as a youngster… I’d have trouble with it now!
    Thank goodness for Canada and it’s 10 provinces and 3 territories.

    • But it’s so much fun! If you think about it, how long did it take you to learn your ABC’s.. much easier when put to music, yes? ๐Ÿ˜‰ Everything in school should have a catchy tune!

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